Mensheviks and the WSM.

August 2022 Forums World Socialist Movement Mensheviks and the WSM.

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  • #228774
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    I see that Martov’s “Socialist Messenger” newspaper was still going in New York in 1965. I never heard of it in connection with the WSM at all. Was it?

    #228776
    DJP
    Participant

    I think you mean “Sotsialisticheskiy Vestnik” (Socialist Courier)? As far as I know, it was a Russian language publication with no links to the WSPUS. But I could be wrong…

    #228778
    ALB
    Keymaster

    This article from 1932 discusses the views of the Mensheviks and the party’s attitude towards them. Our view was that they had a better understanding of Marx’s views than the Bolsheviks. Apart from that, they were like the inter-war Continental Social Democratic Parties which still retained some link to Marx but whose practice was reformist.

    The Programme of the Russian Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries

    #228780
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    Except for Martov? Do we accept him as a socialist?

    Did they ever contact the SPGB?

    #228781
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Yes he did want socialism but he was still a Social Democrat and so favoured campaigning for a minimum programme of reforms to be achieved under capitalism as well as the maximum programme of the capture of political power to establish socialism.

    His main contribution, as far as we are concerned, is his analysis of the Russian Revolution and his demonstration that the Bolsheviks distorted Marx. In this he reached much the same conclusion as we did, as this review in 1940 in the Socialist Standard of an English translation of some of his writings (which we republished in 2017 (still available for £4 including post and package) pointed out:

    The State and the Socialist Revolution, by J. Martov

    #228782
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    And his campaign for reforms, at that time in Russia, was of course valid, unlike today.

    #228783
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    I think Martov hoped to establish bourgeois democracy in Russia and establish organs to protect and advance the emergence of the working class, such as the Parliamentary vote.

    He held to the stageist interpretation of revolution (first capitalism, then socialism) which Lenin once adhered to before he accepted the Trotskyist permanent revolution.

    I am not sure we can call Martov a reformist in a similar context of today as demanding amelioration and palliatives as a political policy. He was advocating something more fundamental

    #228790
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Rosa Luxemburg was another socialist from the same period and area who held that a socialist party should advocate reforms within capitalism as well as advocating socialism. It is not holding this position that means you are necessarily a reformist and not a socialist. Our view is that for a socialist party to do this means that it is likely to attract non-socialist support and eventually become a reformist party.

    In the conditions of tsarist Russia the struggle for “bourgeois democracy” (and basic labour legislation and universal education that it would bring) was justified. That was the immediate aim of all sections of the Russian Social Democratic Party before WW1 including Lenin’s. The argument amongst them was over what tactics to adopt to get there. Many think that Luxemburg’s pamphlet on the Mass Strike was advocating this to get socialism; in fact in that pamphlet she was advocating it to get political democracy in Russia.

    #228794
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    And the end of the Mensheviks, in Georgia … Was it a bloody annihilation by the Bolshevik Red Army (Trotsky)?

    #228797
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    The Bolsheviks revealed their true precursors very early on:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robespierre_Monument

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